IIC SECC 2013: The Student Organising Committee’s Experience

User menu

COPENHAGEN - The 2013 IIC Student and Emerging Conservators Conference in Copenhagen can be considered a continuation of the Student Conference held in London two years previously, in 2011. A few of us participated in the London Conference, as students from the School of Conservation in Denmark, and were so thrilled by the experience that we thought it would be exciting to host a similar conference in Copenhagen.
We started by approaching Mikkel Scharff (now Head of School) with the idea. He encouraged us to write an email to Graham Voce, IIC Executive Secretary, expressing our enthusiasm for the proposal.
In March 2013, two years later, we were informed that the IIC had decided to hold the next student conference in Copenhagen in September.
Throughout the summer, leading up to the conference, we worked hard to organise the event conference in collaboration with IIC and KADK (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation).
The three themes of the conference were defined by the IIC and Student Organising Committee: 1) education and employment across borders, 2) presenting oneself in a professional context and 3) optimising skills and networking: locally and further afield.
We allocated the various tasks between Committee Members; budget and funding, contacting speakers, IT, programme/poster layout and printing, advertising, catering, the evening arrangement, registration, studio visits, the Saturday arrangement (a social event), and later transcription. As planning progressed, however, individual roles merged and we ended up not taking the initial division of work too literally.
Planning overlapped with regular meetings and correspondence principally with Graham Voce from the IIC and Mikkel Scharff. In our experience, communication between the School of Conservation, KADK, participants, speakers, IIC and the Student Organising Committee was essential to the realisation of the conference. It was a significant part of the planning process and required a great deal of effort.
All work, which was done by the Student Organising Committee was voluntary but not without reward. The planning experience has given us an appreciation for international collaboration, and has provided insight into how IIC and other conservation associations are organised. The knowledge acquired will be beneficial for our future careers within conservation. We have become familiar with the administrative side of work, which is necessary to organise a larger event, such as a conference, and has thereby provided us with training we can use to execute similar tasks in the future.
The conference itself made the work worthwhile. It made the School of Conservation more visible at international level. The number of students who participated from Copenhagen and over the web was encouraging. The conference created a forum to discuss relevant themes and questions for students and emerging conservators. International and institutional differences and similarities in opinion, practice and standards, were illuminating. The event presented the chance to discuss the challenges students and emerging conservators are faced with, and students were able to directly address experienced and established conservators for advice.
Discussions continued outside the sessions during the social event. Here a platform was created for professional networking, which may result in further collaboration between people within the field, nationally as well as internationally.
Finally we would like to encourage students to take on a similar initiative, to create future student conferences, as they are extremely beneficial to themselves as well as to fellow students and the conservation field in general.
The Student Organising Committee:
Marie Bitsch Christiansen
Charlotte Graminius
Tora Hederus
Lea Jensen
Mette Falk Paarup
Louise Tiedemann